English at KS4 – Functional Skills
Functional skills are practical skills in English that enable everyone to work confidently, effectively and independently in life and at work. They help us recognise good value deals when making purchases, in writing an effective application, or using the internet to access local services or online banking. They’re about using English in everyday situations – identifying problems or challenges, selecting from the knowledge that we have, or knowing where to get it, and applying that knowledge to find effective solutions. Functional Skills are also being introduced as a response to calls from employers for workers to have English skills required in a workplace.
A Functional Skills qualification in English at Level 2 will show that someone is competent in:
writing documents on complex subjects
making effective presentations in a wide range of contexts
reading and summarising succinctly information from different sources
spelling, punctuation and grammar, accurately so that meaning is clear
Assessments have been designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring, as far as possible, that the assessment and texts are accessible to the full range of students.
The specification offers the attraction of two equally-balanced papers, relating reading sources to the topic and theme of writing tasks. The reading sources act as stimulus for writing tasks, providing students with a clear route through each paper.
Each paper has a distinct identity to better support high quality provision and engaging teaching and learning. Paper 1, Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing, looks at how writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to engage the interest of readers. Paper 2, Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives, looks at how different writers present a similar topic over time.
Our approach to spoken language (previously speaking and listening) will emphasise the importance of the wider benefits that speaking and listening skills have for students. The endorsed unit will draw on good practice to suggest how engaging formative tasks can lead to a single summative assessment.
The course offers a skills-based approach to the study of English Language in an untiered context. Questions are designed to take students on an assessment journey through lower tariff tasks to more extended responses.